Cognitive Biases of the Human Mind in the Acceptance of Religious Beliefs

Document Type : Original Research


Assistant Professor, Department of Ahl- Al Bayt Studies, Faculty of Theology and Ahl- Al Bayt Studies, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran


The cognitive science of religion is an emerging field of cognitive science that gathers insights from different disciplines to explain how humans acquire and transmit religious beliefs. According to scholars of the cognitive science of religion, the mental and cognitive mechanisms of the human being have particular orientations and biases that make him susceptible to the acceptance and transmission of religious beliefs. In this essay, while examining the characteristics of these biases and the way they work, we show that although our innate cognitive tendencies make our minds generally receptive to religion, they cannot alone explain the emergence and proliferation of religious beliefs and practices specific to a particular culture. We will also show that although advocates of cognitive explanations put the study of religion as a natural phenomenon on their agenda and seek to discover the natural causes of the formation, acceptance, reinforcement, and prevalence of religious beliefs, their efforts do not reject the validity of religious beliefs as well as the possibility of non-natural explanations of religious beliefs.


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